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Fanfold Paper
Posts: 8
Registered: ‎04-03-2013
Location: Providence
Views: 1,831
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How to assign Tablet Buttons (X220 Tablet etc)

The learning curve on this machine is steep if you want to take advantage of all the input options but I've put the time in and I'm starting to love it. There is one thing I wish Lenovo would address though. I see plenty of ThinkPad users with this problem going back to at least 2008, and no solutions forthcoming.


The manual states: "On the display bezel near the screen is a row of buttons with which you can control your computer in the tablet mode, without the use of the keyboard."

By default the buttons are set to turn your computer off, press CTRL+ALT+DEL, or rotate the screen 90 degrees. The manual goes on to describe how you can customize these buttons via the Tablet Shorcut Menu, which is accessed via Start > Programs > Lenovo ThinkVantage Tools > Tablet Utility.

If you open this program you get a dialog box titled "Auto Screen Rotation Settings." This dialog controls what orientation the screen should switch to when you convert into tablet. So it really doesn't have anything to do with the buttons.

The only dialog that allows any assignment of the tablet buttons is Windows Control Panel > Tablet PC Settings. Here the Buttons tab is supposed to list the actual buttons on the front panel and let you assign them, but the only one shown is the Screen Rotation button. This works fine, you can set the button's function for a single press and a long press. (Too bad it's not possible to use Shift by itself, but that is as-designed by MS.)

It should go without saying that of three buttons on the face of the tablet, two of them shouldn't be irrevocably linked to CTRL+ALT+DEL and shutdown/sleep.

I searched these boards and couldn't find an answer. I called Lenovo tech support, who transferred me to their advanced tech support which didn't have an answer, then they wanted to charge me for having someone try to help me further. I've installed all updates and patches pushed out by Lenovo and on the advice of the tech support person I installed something called Tablet Button Driver II, which looked promising but didn't do anything. What's clear is that the tablet button reassignment features are not as documented. The keys do work for their default functions so I believe this is just sloppy engineering and the drivers are incomplete.


A workaround for using modifier keys in tablet mode is as follows: Make sure the scrub gesture that opens the pen/touch input panel is enabled. Sorry I don't recall where you configure that but the gesture definitely speeds things up. On the text input panel > Tools > Docking > set it to Float so it won't be too obtrusive and will appear wherever you scrub. Tap Shift or other modifiers on the virtual keyboard, then select your items and do something with them. The modifiers will remain on until you turn them off or dismiss the input panel.

Another way is to go into Control Panel > Pen and Touch > Flicks > Customize... then select a flick direction and set it to 'Toggle Shift' (etc.) though this will only hold the modifier for the next selection.

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